I was talking about race to an African-American co-worker. It was a nice chat since I listened more than I talked. She later complemented me on not telling her that the racism that she has experinenced (that she spoke about) was all in her head. So many white people do, she told me. I can't pretend to understand all of what she has been through. But I believe that I can understand a small (very small) portion. Because I am fat.
I don't mean that I am one of those women who could stand to lose 20 pounds. I mean when I lost 20 pounds there were still over 100 I had to go. I have been fat for my adult life. I gained more weight when I went through the IF. I tell the story about how my sister nearly slugged her husband when she was on Clomid. My BIL asked her "is it the fertility meds or did you just gain 10 pounds?" She swung at him without thinking. When I tell that story sometimes people laugh and sometimes people ask, "really, the fertility meds make you gain weight?"
I am fat in the way that I become invisible. People look at me, stare for a minute, and then look away. I have gone on interviews for positions where I am supremely qualified and not gotten a job and I KNEW it was because of my weight. When Time, Newsweek, etc, had cover stories about the obesity epidemic that was when I saw myself represented in media. Camryn Manheim is my hero(ine), as is Queen Latifa. In Chicago, when she sang the "Be Good for Mama" song, it was the first time in my life that I saw a large woman embrace her sexuality on screen. The first time. Usually the fat girl is laughed at, or pitied.
And MAN can it get personal. If I had a dollar for every well-meaning waitress who has given me a diet soda instead of the regular one I ordered I'd be able to retire and put 5 kids through the college of their choice. At my last job I told my HR person that I was going to be coming in late due to my fertility treatments. Like the 13th grade place of business that it was, the next day I overheard a group of grown women snickered like high school students in the breakroom. "Of COURSE she's not pregnant, what man would want to sleep with all that blubber."
My husband, that would be who. To him I'm beautiful. He and Ruebens would have gotten along fine. We're excercising more for my health, but as far as my looks go, I'm fine with him. I wish I could say there was a time that I suddenly became 100% comfortable in my skin. I'll let you know if it happens. I have my good days and my bad days. I go to weight watchers and I watch the scale go up and down. I've started running and I think about training for a marathon. If I get to a mile without stopping I'll think more about it. I take dancing lessons with my husband and he looks into my eyes and makes me feel wonderful. If people are interested I will talk more about this subject--but that wasn't the real point of this post
The point is, if carrying all the extra weight will make me understand my daughter even a fraction better. It will have been worth all the looks and snickers. If it means that I can say to her "I DO understand, and it sucks and I am SO mad with you." It will be worth it.